The Cars: “You Might Think” (1984)

Turbocharged by top-of-the-line audio and video production, The Cars enter their mass-production phase.

Kronomyth 5.01: Gone to the dogs.

The Cars traded in their cool minimalism for crushing choruses and over-the-top production on Heartbeat City. It is a small kindness, I suppose, that Marc Bolan and Mutt Lange never worked together. (Shudders at the thought.) This, the opening salvo from The Cars’ new album, is perhaps better remembered today for its then-groundbreaking music video, which featured some of the earliest computer animation. It would go on to win MTV’s first music video of the year award and, from this point forward, The Cars were an audio/visual group.

The thing is, “You Might Think” isn’t a bad song. With fewer layers and a herky-jerky delivery, it might have been another minor hit from the band. But Lange fussed over every detail and filtered every sound until the song’s simple chord changes pummel you; instead of tension/release, it’s a sensory overload. In the UK, the downbeat “Why Can’t I Have You” was selected as the first single; both featured “Heartbeat City” on the B side. When the UK later released “You Might Think” as a single, “I Refuse” was the flip choice. Both songs suggest Beatitude with better production.

For the record, I do believe that Mutt Lange is a genius, just more in the evil genius camp. In fact, one of the things I admire about AC/DC is that their music had a stronger personality than Lange’s production; Foreigner and The Cars weren’t so fortunate. And while I’m counting my good fortunes, I’d like to thank our benevolent God that Lange didn’t inundate the market with remixes of this material, since a six-minute version of “You Might Think” would be a mite much, methinks.

Read more Cars reviews

Original 7-inch single version

A1. You Might Think (Ric Ocasek) (3:04)
B1. Heartbeat City (Ric Ocasek) (4:30)

Original 7-inch single verison (UK)
A1. You Might Think (Ric Ocasek)
B1. I Refuse (Ric Ocasek)

Original 12-inch single version (UK)
A1. You Might Think (Ric Ocasek)
B1. Let’s Go (Ric Ocasek)
B2. I Refuse (Ric Ocasek)

Back-to-back hits 7-inch single reissue
A1. You Might Think (Ric Ocasek) (3:10)
B1. Magic (Ric Ocasek) (3:57)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch and three-track 12-inch single in March 1984 in the US and Australia (Elektra, 7-69744), in May 1984 in the UK (Elektra, E9718/T) and in 1984 in Brazil (Elektra, 12136), Canada (Elektra, 96 97447), Germany (Elektra, 969 744-7/966 968-0) and Japan (Elektra, P-1857) with regional picture sleeve; reached #7 on the US charts (charted on March 10, 1984 for 17 weeks) and #88 on the UK charts. Also released as promotional 12-inch single in 1984 in the US (Elektra, ED 4963) feat. A only.

  1. Re-released with “Magic” on back-to-back hits 7-inch single in 1985 in the US (Elektra Spun Gold, 7-65983).

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